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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

ANTELOPES AND OXEN                            CHAP.
of zoological significance. As a rule there are horns in both sexes ;
but this rule is not without exceptions, of which one is the genus
Strepsiceros, the Koodoo. Many other Bovidae are horned in
the males only, e.g. Saiga, Tragelap7i,u$. The Antelopes further
differ from the true Oxen in their more graceful build, and
in the fact that the horns, if they curve at all, generally curve
backwards towards the neck. In the Oxen, on the other hand,
the build is stouter, and the horns usually curve outwards. The
same remarks apply to the Sheep. Such an Antelope, however,
as the Eland (Orias) is very Ox-like in habit. Another feature
which may be remarked upon, though not of absolute differential
value, is that while the Antelopes are as a rule smooth and sleek
in their skins, the Oxen tend to be rough and shaggy. The Zebu,
however, in this, in its hump, and in general aspect, is far from
being unlike an Eland. But then the Zebu is a domestic race, and
we do not know what the wild stock was like. It is perhaps with
the Goats that the Antelopes have the nearest affinities, and it is
difficult to place such a form as NemorrTicLediis, and indeed some
others. In the Antelopes as a rule the middle lower incisors are
larger than the lateral ones ; in the Sheep and Goats they are alike
in size. The parietal bones, too, in the Antelopes are moderately
large and are much shortened in the remaining Cavicornia, especi-
ally in the Oxen. As the Antelopes are the oldest, so far as we
know, of all bovine animals, one would expect to find them, com-
bining the characters of the rest. But they do this so effectually
that a disentanglement is really impossible. They date from the
Miocene. Antelopes are now limited to Europe, Asia, and Africa;
they have always had the same range, though more abundant in
former times in Europe. They preponderate now in tropical
Africa, and abound in genera and species. Messrs. Sclater and
Thomas x aEow altogether thirty-five genera, of which twenty-four
are exclusively Ethiopian in range.
In the following summary of the group Messrs. Sclater and
Thomas's work is followed. They commence with a section or
sub-family of which the type is the Hartebeest.
Bwfoalm* or ^dlcelaphus as it is sometimes called, is an African
genus, ranging however into Arabia. These Antelopes are
characterised by the long skull and the doubly-curved horns,
are eight species of the genus, of which J?. caama is tlie
* The ŽooTt of j&Mopes, London, Porter, 1894,1900.